ESA satellite tv for pc antennas examined in Denmark | India Schooling, Schooling Information India, Schooling Information
The European Space Agency ESA is building new weather satellites to get all the necessary data for daily weather forecasts in Europe and around the world. The satellite program is called MetOp (Meteorological Operational Satellite Program), and the numerous observations of temperature, wind, ice cover and soil water content are also included in the climate models.
An important part of the satellites is a radar system with antennas that sends the radar signal in the right direction to the ground, where it is then reflected by the antenna and recorded again. Before the satellites are sent into space, it is necessary to know exactly how the radar signal is influenced on its way through the antenna so that this can be taken into account when processing measurement data. The tests required for this must be carried out in the anechoic room of the DTU – “DTU-ESA test facility for spherical near-field antennas”.
“Each test takes about four weeks. Antennas are very sensitive and are affected by the smallest details such as incorrectly performed soldering. We have seen this in previous projects, but we expect that this time everything is correct and that the antennas can be returned for installation on the satellite after testing, ”says Professor Olav Breinbjerg, head of the spherical near field antenna at the DTU-ESA testing facility.
The preparation and upgrading of the measuring devices for the anechoic laboratory of the DTU took several years until the final approval to carry out the tests on the satellite antennas was granted by ESA and Airbus – the manufacturers of the new so-called scatterometers, in which the antennas are an essential part of .
The antennas are so-called flight hardware, ie the correct antennas that are later mounted on the satellite and are now being tested by DTU Electrical Engineering. The first antennas arrive on February 2nd. Then they are unpacked by Airbus employees and installed in the laboratory.
Tests carried out by dedicated specialists
Like so much else, the project was delayed by COVID-19 and most recently by a failure of one of the key instruments in the laboratory. However, everything is now ready to perform the extensive testing that will be the greatest task in the history of the laboratory.
“Up to now, we were two people responsible for performing this type of measurement, which requires very sophisticated expertise. Over the past few years we have trained two more colleagues so that we are ready to do the job, which will take place around the clock from the start of the measurements to their completion, ”says Olav Breinbjerg.
A number of new instruments and more complex measurements are included in the task that has not previously been performed at the DTU – especially multi-frequency measurements that require higher speed of the system. Olav Breinbjerg is therefore looking forward to the laboratory’s biggest task to date with slight apprehension.
A total of three antennas will be tested to be mounted on the first MetOp satellite, which will be launched into orbit in 2023. It takes about a month to test each antenna and the entire task is expected to be completed in May.
In 2022 and 2023, the antennas for the last two satellites of the second generation of MetOp are to be tested at the DTU.